Improved Cotton Flow: Final Report of a Special Cotton Flow Study

Samuel B. Hollis


Problems relating to cotton flow stem back into the early 1970's. Cotton exports were high and transportation systems were taxed and, in many cases, broken down. As a result, a Cotton Flow Committee was formed by the National Cotton Council to help deal with problems associated with cotton flow.

In 1987 in the Mid-South and central Cotton Belt areas, a very early, fast moving, and large crop linked to increased domestic mill consumption caused the cotton flow system to be strongly taxed again. The situation was so severe this time, however, that many mills were on the verge of running out of cotton.

The industry responded by forming a special committee comprised of individuals representing the Cotton Warehouse Association of America, the American Textile Manufacturers Association, the American Cotton Shippers Association, the National Cotton Council, and Cotton Incorporated.

This committee contracted the transportation and distribution consulting firm of Temple, Barker, & Sloane, Inc., to perform a study of the cotton flow system and make recommendations for its improvement. Consultants established eleven recommendations for improving the flow of cotton. These recommendations included: 1) Establishing merchant-evaluation programs at mills that encourage high-quality service; 2) Penalizing failure to perform; 3) Using warehouse pricing that eliminates incentives for delay; 4) Establishing merchants as central point for information flows; 5) Standardizing information for cotton movement; 6) Developing centralized early warning system for flow problems; 7) Paying more for transportation during peak periods; 8) Establishing consistent receiving hours at mills; 9) Investigating alternative modes/carriers; 10) Improving warehouse facilities and practices; and, 11) Working to simultaneously reduce rebates and tariffs.

Reprinted from Proceedings: 1989 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference pp. 47 - 50
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998